Usually I have a plethora of weird and wonderful words running round in my brain, just clamoring for the opportunity to be included in Word of the Week. Or, I’m reading a book, and a cool little word just jumps out at me, gnashing its tiny feral teeth and demanding center stage.
Not so today. Today I drew a big fat B-L-A-N-K of monumental proportions. (Note to self: Duh! Write ’em down, next time.)
What to do? Why, skim-read the dictionary, of course. As you do. *g*
Now, the only proviso I have for Word of the Week is that I have to have either seen the word used, heard the word used in conversation, or personally used the word. Otherwise, it’s hardly fair, is it? If all I do is skim a dictionary and pick something so out there that no one’s likely to have heard of it, it’s kinda cheating. (Whenever I read The Economist, I invariably end up scurrying for a dictionary. Just sayin’…. *eye roll*)
Anyway, so while I was skimming the dictionary, looking for a word that fit the above criteria, I spotted this one:
LORDOSIS: noun — curvature of spine, an abnormal inward curve of the spine, commonly referred to as “swayback” (from the Greek lordos, bent backward)
That’s my dictionary’s definition. When I first came across the word, it was in a different context. I was researching the mating habits of lions for Let Sleeping Demons Lie:
LORDOSIS: A posture assumed by some female mammals during mating, in which the back is arched downward. The typical posture shown by many animals in heat with the rump and tail elevated.
Did I use this shiny new word in my manuscript? Heck yes! Made perfect sense to me at the time. But I did at least have enough sense to realize that it was one of those words you’d have to clarify for the reader. (Yeah, I know. The mind boggles, right? *VBG*)
I dug out an old draft of Let Sleeping Demons Lie and sure enough, here’s what I had written:
Brennan switched his full focus back to the female. Given the strength and duration of his roar he expected her to be wide awake and waiting, already on her belly in the lordosis pose, presenting her rear and flaunting her sex for his benefit. Willing. Wet. Quivering with the need to take him within her body.
Thanks to my editor’s excellent input, the final published version became this:
Brennan switched his full focus back to the female. Given the strength and duration of his roar, he expected her to have already shifted to her Beast form. She should be wide awake and waiting, lying on her belly with her butt in the air, flaunting her sex. Willing. Wet. Quivering with the need to take him within her body.
Which just goes to show, when you’re writing, often wordy is good. And it’s not always a good thing to use one word when a sentence or two will do — especially when it’s a really weird word that’ll have your readers going, “Huh?” *cough* The Economist *cough*